Serena Opens with Win, Pegula Notches Major Upset
By: Nicholas McCarvel
It was sweet number 11 for Serena Williams Tuesday afternoon at the Volvo Car Open, the two-time winner here notching her eleventh straight victory in Charleston following title runs in 2008 and 2012.
The world No. 1 and top seed was back in fine form before a supportive crowd on Billie Jean King Court, sweeping past a motivated opponent in Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-2, 6-3.
"I felt really good," said Serena, who moves to 18-4 lifetime in Charleston. "I think I played someone really good today and it's good to get this under my belt."
Williams made it three for three on Stadium Court for past champions Tuesday. Earlier, 2009 winner Sabine Lisicki blasted by Anna Tatishvili 6-0, 6-0 in just 41 minutes before 2007 champion Jelena Jankovic needed nearly three hours to sneak past American hope Melanie Oudin 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.
Jankovic, a former world No. 1 and the No. 9 seed here was winless in two matches against the Georgia native coming into their meeting Tuesday.
"Sometimes when you lose against someone it's always tricky to play the opponents," Jankovic said after the win. "She has this game that I don't really like and doesn't really suit me, I always have trouble with her. It's just her style of play is just difficult for me to play against."
In the evening session, wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands shocked No. 4 seed Sloane Stephens, beating her countrywoman 6-2, 6-0 before a stunned crowd. It was the elder American's first win in three efforts against the 20-year-old, who made the Australian Open semifinals.
For the rest of the stars and stripes contingent it was a stellar day, Serena leading the charge before 19-year-old Jessica Pegula notched her second career win ever, beating No. 8 Mona Barthel on Billie Jean King Court 7-6 (4), 6-1. No. 12 Varvara Lepchenko won her match minutes later on Althea Gibson Court, taking out France's Mathilde Johansson 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.
American teenager Madison Keys, just 18, continued the winning trend by booking a place in the round of 32 with a 7-6 (3), 6-4 decision over Alexandra Cadantu on Althea Gibson Court. Keys trailed 2-4 in the second set before reeling off the final four games.
Up-and-coming teen Laura Robson, the No. 16 seed, registered a straight-set win over Estrella Cabeza Candela 6-2, 6-2 to earn a second-round match against good friend Eugenie Bouchard of Canada.
Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland landed another upset, knocking out No. 7 seed Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-4 on Court 3.
American Vania King also caused a minor upset. She beat her former doubles partner and the No. 15 seed Yaroslava Shvedova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
No. 10 seed Julia Goerges was not a victim to the upset bug swirling about, however. She was successful in a 6-2, 6-2 effort over teenager Yulia Putintseva, who is coached by Martina Hingis.
Anabel Medina Garrigues, who won Monday, was forced to withdraw from the tournament with a right knee injury, sending No. 11 seed Sorana Cirstea into the third round.
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 1999, also advanced, beating Romina Oprandi in three sets.